Food drives are important to local food banks, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas time when there is more emphasis on celebration meals. Since they are also a fantastic way to help students learn about the importance of giving to others and being socially minded, they are perfect PTA events to host. And we've put together Food Drive PTA printables that will save you time and energy!
1 - Plan Your Food Drive
Call your local food bank and find out what items they need and when they want deliveries to be made.
Decide how food will be transferred to the food bank. You can call local moving companies and see if they would be willing to donate a truck and driver for this purpose. If not, see if you can find several people with trucks who will be willing to donate time on delivery day.
Set the dates for your food drive and make sure they don't conflict with other big school events such as the end of a fundraiser or class productions.
Plan how food and money collected will be stored before the pick-up day. Make sure this information is communicated to teachers. If food will be stored in the hallways, you may want to touch base with custodians as a courtesy.
Consider adding an incentive or theme to make the food drive more memorable. Kids are oftentimes motivated by helping others but you can give the event a bit of zing with a little bit of creativity.
For instance, this principal got a pie in the face because his students met (actually exceeded) the donation goal:
And this principal got silly stringed!
Think about how you will let everyone know about the food drive, including dates and drop-off locations. There are a variety of ways to get the word out. Even though this colorful sandwich board belongs to a business, your PTA could use this concept to advertise by school entrances:
Consider combining the food drive with another big event like a basketball game or band performance:
2 - Get the Word Out
Create marketing materials to get the word out to students, staff, and their families. To ensure everyone knows about your food drive, we've included website information as well as PTA printables that include: posters for hallways, templates for tracking, and labels to attach to kids' shirts or papers.
Consider adding some humor or something catchy to get people's attention. Whether you choose to host a contest for the class the brings in the most cans/money, set a school goal with a small incentive, or just make creative signs, add some excitement to your drive to get students more invested:
Tell parents exactly what you need if there are particular items the food bank is in dire need of. If not, tell parents what items will be accepted (non-perishable food, cash, etc.) and what will not be accepted (produce, checks, etc.). Post this on your PTA website as well as on any printed information that goes home.
And, if the food bank is in need of a particular item, make it a "bonus" item like this school did so the school/class gets more credit for bringing that in.
3 - Track incoming Goods
Make sure to track the number of food items and cash that comes in from each class. There are a number of fun ways to set and track goals:
- For each canned/boxed item or dollar, a student colors the can outlines provided below. Place the cans on the wall and set a goal to go around the entire school with the cans. (Included PTA printables)
- Set a goal for each class to fill their door with "cans."
- Cut out a big turkey for each class or grade. For each item/dollar brought in, a student colors a feather and adds it to the turkey.
- For each item/dollar brought in, a student colors a feather. Make a feather chain for the classroom and see if it can stretch across the room.
- Run a Make Someone Smile campaign and allow each student to color a smiley face and/or add hair/bows to it. Display those in the hall or post around the school. (Included PTA printables)
PTA volunteers can even display cans in a fun way for the kids to enjoy like these office and Mario displays:
4 - Document the Results
Make sure to take pictures of the drive, not just at the end, but throughout the process. Show kids helping to pack food, teachers loading up trucks, and of course, show the final product, if possible. After all, most kids would get a thrill out of seeing themselves on camera!
Consider taking a short video showing all the food being loaded onto trucks or of the food bank employee walking outside to see all the food. Show the video to the students so that they can celebrate their contribution and the final outcome.
Post information and photos in the hallways and on your PTA website so that parents and students are aware of how much food was eventually collected. Copy this blurb or revise it to make it your own:
Wow! The parents, staff, and students at X school are the best! Our food drive goal was to collect X food items and X dollars.
Guess how much we collected? X food items and X dollars!
This will feed X families over the winter.
You guys are amazing! Thank you for your generosity and kindness.
We've shared this with the students but please tell them again so they understand what a difference they've made in their community!
And...check out the wonderful pictures and videos of our students and staff working hard to make this 2018 Food Drive such a success.
Get your PTA Printables to Plan your Food Drive
We've put together 5 of our best resources to make your planning easier than ever. Download this Food Drive packet and you'll get two food drive flyers, food can outlines for students to fill out, smiley face outlines, and reminder labels to send home with students.
PTAsocial’s easy-to-use digital tools empower PTAs and PTOs to efficiently plan school community events, and radically increase volunteers and funds raised. Find out more here.
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